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Binge Eating Disorder

What Is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder, often referred to as BED, is a severe condition that often requires treatment. Often overlooked, binge eating disorder is actually the most common eating disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling, know you’re not alone and with treatment, reaching recovery is possible.

The disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of quickly consuming large amounts of food. Often the food will be consumed so rapidly and in such high quantities that it will lead to discomfort or even pain. After a binge eating incident, there are often feelings of shame, guilt, or loss of control. When these feelings occur, measures may be utilized to counter the recent binge.  

Recovery is possible with Monte Nido 

At Monte Nido, we know the importance of binge eating therapy to help you or your loved one recover from your eating disorder. We have virtual, day, and residential treatment programs to help you on your recovery journey. If you or a loved one needs support, contact us today.

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Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder

Many diagnostic criteria will be met before a diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan for binge eating disorder can be created. Some of the situations that must be present for diagnosis include:

  • Recurring binge eating episodes which involve eating large amounts of food in a short time and lack of control during the eating episode
  • Episodes of eating more rapidly than usual, eating past being comfortably full, eating large quantities when not hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment about the quantity that is being eaten combined with feelings of guilt or disgust after the episode
  • Feeling of distress when it comes to eating
  • Episodes occurring once a week for three months or more

Signs of Binge Eating Disorder?

There are many signs and symptoms that someone may need to seek out binge eating disorder help. Symptoms often include emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms. The presence of any combination of these symptoms may indicate the need for treatment.

Behavioral and Emotional Symptoms

There are many emotional and behavioral symptoms to watch for including:

  • The disappearance of large amounts of food or the appearance of multiple empty wrappers and food containers
  • Feeling uncomfortable when eating around others
  • Practicing fad diets that are often extreme such as cutting out entire food categories
  • Resistance to eating in public places or with others
  • Food hoarding tendencies
  • Withdrawal from friends and social activities
  • Constant concerns with the shape, size, and weight of body
  • Symptoms of low self-esteem

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms associated with binge eating disorder are often subtle and may not be as noticeable without careful observation. Some of the most common physical symptoms that may be present are:

  • Fluctuations in weight both higher and lower
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as stomach cramping, constipation, and acid reflux
  • Concentration problems

What Demographics Are Most Commonly Affected by Binge Eating Disorder?

When looking at the types of patients that seek binge eating treatment, it can occur at any age, gender, race, or background, though some groups do show a slightly elevated risk. Binge eating disorder tends to be slightly higher in adult women than men and adolescents with 3.5% of women experiencing the disorder, 2% of men, and 1.6% of adolescents.

Unfortunately, even though the eating disorder is a fairly common one, few people will seek out the binge eating disorder treatment they need – only 3% of adults see a doctor for a medical diagnosis.

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder?

A key component in achieving binge eating recovery is determining the underlying cause so that a proper treatment plan can be developed. There are many causes associated with binge eating including psychological factors, family history, and weight concerns.

  • Biological Factors – Historical weight fluctuations can increase risk as well as hormone irregularities that can lead to food addiction. Binge eating behavior has often been linked to lower serotonin levels.
  • Behavioral Factors – Those who are in binge eating recovery often will report a history that includes excessive dieting going as far back as their adolescence. When dieting is excessive, it can trim hunger cues leading to binges.
  • Environmental Factors – External influences can cause problems with an individual’s self-worth. Individuals who suffer bullying or body shaming or are influenced by media body images may feel overwhelmed when trying to achieve an unrealistic idea of beauty.
  • Emotional Factors – There have been personality factors that have been linked to binge eating disorder such as assertiveness, low self-esteem, or ADHD. Other factors that can contribute are depression and anxiety.
  • Genetics – Binge eating disorder can run in families.
  • Traumatic Events – Serious or traumatic events in one’s life can trigger binge eating episodes such as death, illness, tragedy, abuse, and separation.